How Good Are The Odds Of Becoming An MD?

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A new report summarizes the chances that banking professionals have of making it to the level of managing director.

Salary benchmarking site conducted the study using data collected from 11,500 banking professionals working in London. The report summarizes the odds of becoming an MD, and how long it will take to become one.

How many analysts will reach the MD level?

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Those who currently work as analysts should be pleased to hear that 70% of their number will reach the rank of Vice President, and 60% will one day become Directors. However, attaining the rank of Director should not make bankers complacent, because most that do so never manage to advance beyond that rank.

25% of Directors have over 15 years experience, and the majority will not become Managing Directors. As the chart above illustrates, moving from Director to MD is a tough leap to make, with only one of three Directors reaching the higher rank.

As a proportion of the total population of analysts, that means that 20% will one day become MDs.

How long does the rise to MD take on average?

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If you are aiming to become an MD, the data shows that you better be willing to stick around. The average time before the MD level is achieved is 14 years, which is far longer than most analysts stay at a bank.

Those with loftier ambitions should be aware that they will have to be in the top 1% of all analysts to reach C-suite jobs, the equivalent to 5% of MDs.

As Alice Leguay of explains, “the pay bonanza really kicks in at MD level where pay is on average 2x that of Directors. Even if it occurs 14 years into a banking career, such a bump up in remuneration would have most bankers attempting to stick around.”

She also has some sage advice for those aiming for the highest ranks. “As the pyramid narrows at the top, many Directors are encouraged to ‘spend more time with their families’ rather than keep rising through the ranks. It is rare that MDs make it on business performance alone as it takes managerial skills and wide political backing to earn that coveted nomination,” said Leguay.

Not only will candidates for the top jobs be willing to dedicate a long period of time to the pursuit of their goals, they will also need to be careful to build strong relationships with colleagues in order to maximize their chances.

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